Coughing After Exercise: What It Really Means

Wi was there. You’re about to go for a run on a cold, dry winter morning, ready to jog and train hard, only to end that glorious run with a cough.

What happens to a sudden cough that you just can’t seem to stop? This is pretty common, especially at this time of year, says Roy Artal, a board-certified pulmonologist based in Los Angeles.

Previously, Dr. Artal explained that this phenomenon was known as exercise-induced asthma. Today, it is often explained as exercise-induced bronchospasm. “It’s basically an overreaction of the airways when the airways tighten or constrict during exercise, and then people may experience shortness of breath or a decrease in lung capacity often manifests itself,” he said. by cough.

While we might assume cold air is the main trigger, a study from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that dry air is a much more important factor. compared to temperature. The study found: “Cold air generally contains less moisture than warm air, and rapid breathing of dry air dehydrates the bronchial tubes, causing them to narrow and restrict airflow.”

This feeling most commonly occurs in dry climates, but other triggers can be things like pollutants in the air, strong perfumes in an indoor environment, or even the dry air of a gym. Hot yoga is like a sauna. Dr Artal says that many people usually only experience this in the winter when exercising outdoors during strenuous jogging or walking. “In particular, dry and cold air is a trigger,” he said. “Many people may not have symptoms while running in the summer in Jackson, Mississippi, but will have symptoms in the winter in Jackson, Wyoming. And for those people, the remedy could be as easy as moving your workouts indoors during the winter months.

For more persistent problems with post-workout coughs, medications and treatments are available, says Dr Artal. So if you have consistent symptoms that frequently interfere with your favorite activities, then you should see your doctor, he says. Exercise-induced bronchospasm shouldn’t interfere with your ability to push yourself the way you want. “We should all do what we want by exercising and doing the activities we want, whether it’s summer or winter,” he said. Doctor.”

But overall, a small cough here and there is nothing to be alarmed about, Dr. Artal said. And if switching that exercise routine from the trail to the treadmill sounds like a seasonal pastime, Dr. Artal offers some helpful tips for warding off mild symptoms: “A simple thing to do. Something as simple as a few minutes of warm-up before running can help. he say. “Also, wearing a face covering like a headscarf can be helpful against dry air—it will trap some moisture in your respiratory tract.”

There’s no reason for a few coughs to stop you from getting out there.

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